In Ohio courts, personal injury cases are frequently referred to mediation in an attempt to settle disputes before they proceed to trial. Mediation is a process through which a third-party mediator works with plaintiffs and defendants to communicate, negotiate, and attempt to voluntarily resolve a law suit.
Mediation can be carried out in several different ways, according to the methods chosen by the mediator. The parties to a case may be brought together to discuss the lawsuit face-to-face, or the parties may be separated with the mediator acting as a “go-between”.
In all cases, the mediator’s role is to facilitate discussion between the parties. This typically involves frank conversations regarding the facts, claims, and value of the law suit. Over the course of several hours, the mediator will attempt to bring the parties to a mutually agreeable settlement of one or more claims made in the law suit.
It is important for parties to remember that while the mediator can facilitate discussion, the mediator does not represent your interests during the mediation process. Only your attorney represents you throughout the mediation process.
All parties should approach mediation with an open mind and make a good faith effort to negotiate. However, Plaintiffs are under no obligation to settle their case during mediation.
Prior to and during mediation, your attorney and you will discuss appropriate settlement circumstances. If mediation does not enable you to achieve an appropriate settlement, then your case will be placed back on the Court’s docket and proceed to trial as scheduled.